Stranded for 18 weeks Forgotten frontier
FOR more than 18 weeks now Ross Blennerhassett and his partner Maxine Rich have been stranded on their isolated Goshen cattle station 50km inland from Cardwell as the wompoo pigeon flies.
They are cut off on their Mt Garnet access road by the flooded upper Herbert River at what is known locally as Cashmere Crossing. On the coastal side they are blocked by flooded creeks and fallen rainforest timber on the 76km Kirrama Range that joins the Bruce Highway at Kennedy.
It is only 50km in a direct line to Cardwell, but as they are separated from the small coastal village by precipitous mountains, World Heritage Listed rainforest, and roads straight out of the Wild West, they may as well be living on the dark side of the moon.
They are no strangers to iso- lation and to being cut off.
This year’s period of isolation, though, has gone on too long and they are disappointed with the poor response they have had from authorities charged with providing assistance to people suffering disadvantage after Cyclone Yasi.
The category five storm passed right over their homestead after wiping out large chunks of the Tully-Cardwell coast on February 2-3.
Mr Blennerhassett, who was left a quadriplegic after an on-station accident in 2006, is confined to a wheelchair. The couple has a special van which is used to transport he and his wheel chair to and from the station, but with the both access roads cut, there is nowhere for them to go.
Mr Blennerhassett said there was nothing they could do but cope with the situation. He said it was still raining at Goshen earlier this week and that he didn’t expect Cashmere Crossing to become navigable again to four-wheeldrive vehicles until mid-April.
NO-GO: Courtland Marks helps clear fallen trees from the Kirrama Range road IT’S hard to believe that the Kirrama Range road, in theory, is supposed to be one of the state’s premier tourism tracks.
In reality, the road is a no-go zone. The eastern access road from the Bruce Highway at Kennedy just north of Cardwell has been closed since Cyclone Larry in 2006. The road needs repairs no one is prepared to undertake.
Although the track has been of-